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Web Optimization and Social Media: An Interview with Michelle Chance-Sangthong, Red Hawk Strategies

Michelle Chance-Sangthong at Red Hawk Strategies offers web strategy consulting for companies who want to leverage the web to attract and retain more clients through online marketing efforts. In house web video studio production also available by appointment.

What led you to start Red Hawk Strategies?
As the co-owner of several successful Internet Based retail stores, I
was often asked to speak and discuss internet marketing in networking
groups. My colleagues suggested that I begin consulting with companies
to present this information and help them develop web marketing
strategies for their businesses.
At first I hesitated, not sure that companies needed or wanted to
learn how to take advantage of the web for their “brick and mortar”
businesses. I was wrong. The more I met with folks, the more I
realized there was a need to help clarify how web marketing could help
their business.
What lessons have you learned in running your own business?
Stay organized, avoid debt, understand your financials, learn how to
attract and retain the best clients, keep a life / work balance.
It is easy to get caught up in lots of “busy” work – and not working
on “cash generating” activities.  Keep yourself organized, set and
keep a schedule to make the most of your productivity flow. As the
owner of a small business it is typical that your job is to be the
“Rainmaker” – make sure you do that job first and in proportion to the
rest of the things that come up on the “to do” list.
If you can bootstrap and grow your business slow and steady – you can
keep the ship tight and be steadier when things change. Make decisions
on how to grow your business with the capital that it is producing and
not on how much you can “borrow”.  This isn’t popular with many folks,
but I made the decision in the beginning of 2009 to operate Red Hawk
Strategies on cash flow, no credit card, no loans.  Which means if I
want to “spend” I have to get to work and generate the revenue.
It is crucial to keep timely financials and study them, understand the
relationship between sales, profits and cash flow.
You have to understand the demographic profile of your best customer,
figure out the best referral sources for those clients and then
provide amazing service to them. And remember to ask for referrals.
Most importantly, make a commitment to “re-charge” and family time.
Entrepreneurs are often “DRIVEN” by the thrill of the deal – but if
you don’t allow yourself downtime, the opportunity to rest your body,
mind and spirit, you can not serve yourself, your family, nor your
customers in the best possible ways.

How do you use social media to communicate your services?

In a variety of ways.  I use tools like Twitter to listen into my
referral space, share and update information about Red Hawk Strategies
and let my followers know about events, tools, tips and trick around
marketing.
My Twitter status updates my Facebook status where I am reconnecting
with friends from Elementary – College, Past Employers and even New
Friends that I share common interests with. Red Hawk Strategies has a
Fan Page where I can interact my personal contact on Facebook with the
services I offer.
I use Linked In for a more fully professional view of things, join
groups, get and give endorsement, research, and connect with other
business professionals.

What is the biggest mistake you see businesses make in internet marketing?

The impression that “if you build it, they will come and buy” …
that’s just not true.  Every single website out there is basically in
its own desert.  You have to have marketing planning to attract
customers that build roadways in, and once they get to your website, a
strategy to get them to take action.
If you have a big BRAND like Coca-Cola or Pepsi people will find you,
you can’t keep them away.  But that is not true for your average
business.
In the average store, I estimate that 60-80% of qualified visitors
make a purchase — when was the last time you went into a store or to
the mall and left buying nothing ? There is a reason for that you went
to the store, and in the store they strategically stage items,
pricing, specials in ways that encourage you to buy. Signs are
attractive, packages are dust free, the checkout is clearly marked.
There is a comfort level.
On the web – the average purchases range from 0.5% – 2% higher than 2%
is typically considered an OUTSTANDING purchase ratio …which means
that 98 people came through without buying, signing up, asking for
more help, etc. Online the competition is one click away, you have to
work harder to help them do business with you.

Bonus Question:
How did you come up with the name Red Hawk Strategies?

I have always admired the Hawk’s ability to take in the full panoramic
view, from 5,000 feet, and zoom in on a focal point and go after it. I
consider myself to have that hawk-like ability. I can review a
customers over arching marketing needs, and help them take clearly
focus on the action that is most profitable for their business.
Red Hawk Strategies
1523-12 S. Chaffee Road, Suite 143
Jacksonville, FL 32221
904-654-2012
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